Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam Port Courts Ugandan Businesses to Boost Transit Traffic

Afaf Fahchouch
Afaf Fahchouch
3 Min Read
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Efforts to bolster transit traffic through Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam port are underway as port authorities aim to entice Ugandan businesses away from their reliance on Kenya’s Mombasa port. Despite significant investment in upgrading facilities under the Dar es Salaam Maritime Gateway Project (DMGP), transit traffic to Uganda remains stagnant at two percent, prompting the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) to initiate measures to attract more cargo from its landlocked neighbor.

At a recent workshop in Kampala themed “Facilitating an Efficient Logistics System Through the Central Corridor,” TPA officials acknowledged the challenges hindering the port’s competitiveness, including infrastructure limitations and high transport costs along the Central Corridor. While the corridor has seen substantial transit traffic from countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia, Uganda’s cargo throughput at Dar es Salaam port has remained limited.

In a bid to sway Ugandan businesses, TPA is offering incentives such as 30-days free storage for imports and a dedicated goods-shed at the port. However, despite these offerings, Ugandan traders cite factors such as cost-effectiveness, transport infrastructure robustness, and cargo clearance efficiency as reasons why they still prefer Mombasa port over Dar es Salaam. For instance, cargo transported from Dar es Salaam to Kampala incurs higher costs and longer transit times compared to shipments from Mombasa.

To address these concerns and optimize multimodal transport, TPA is exploring options such as rail-to-lake or road-to-lake networks connecting Dar es Salaam port to Port Bell and Jinja through Mwanza on Lake Victoria. Additionally, there are plans to develop inland container depots closer to the Uganda border through public-private partnerships, aimed at improving infrastructure to better serve Uganda’s transit needs.

The Tanzanian government’s initiatives align with Uganda’s efforts to enhance its own port infrastructure, including the development of a tri-modal port at Bukasa and seeking private partnerships for port upgrades and expansion. As both countries seek to capitalize on their strategic geographical positions, collaborations and investments in port infrastructure are crucial to unlocking the full potential of the Central Corridor for regional trade and economic growth.


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